Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the auspices of Health Sector Reform Coalition have decried the removal of health budget from the 2017 allocation by the federal government.
Country Representative of ONE Campaign Nigeria, Mr. Ediwin Ikhuoria, made this public on Tuesday in Abuja at a press conference to remind government of the importance of the National Health Bill implementation and health budgeting in improving the lives of Nigerians.
‘’More Nigerians, mostly mothers and children under-five risk being killed by preventable diseases, as the one percent consolidated revenue fund for health has again been left out of the 2017 budget.
“We have reliably gathered that one percent of the consolidated revenue fund in article 11 of the National Health Act needed for Basic Health Provision Fund may not make it through the executive budget proposal for 2017 despite all promises and commitments publicly made by the present government.’’
The ONE Campaign boss said the fund which is meant to boost universal health coverage and make room for Nigerians to access quality healthcare services at subsidised rate was enacted in 2014 but two years down the lane, it is yet to be appropriated in the budgets.
Ikhuoria, who explained that the health fund which is also targeted at poor masses who reside in villages, where most of the avoidable deaths take place, added that despite concerted efforts made by the Ministry of Health and stakeholders to educate the office of the Budget and National Planning on the need for the about 42 billion naira equivalent to the one percent consolidated revenue for quality health for all Nigerians to be implemented it has fell on deaf ears.
‘’Mothers, children, Nigerians die every day due to health complications that could be treated if they had the means. Every day in this country, about 145 women die from pregnancy or child birth related complications, about 1000 newborns will not even live to see their first birthday and about 600 die before they celebrate their fifth birthday.”
He also regretted that about 41,000 children annually get infected with HIV, not because the infection could not be avoided but they couldn’t go through the normal prevention of mother to child transmission of infection HIV processes.
“This can be prevented from a functional health system, and this is what the national health act was purposed to put in place, a functional health system that we could use in tracking resources from input to outcomes, but we cannot understand why this has not taken a place in the policy of this government.”
Speaking on the National Health Bill, NHB, Ikhuoria said that the law was signed by the President in 2014 to provide framework for regulation, development and management of the health system for health services for the health care needs of the entire Nigerian populace but it has taken two years without implementation.
Dr Amina Aminu Dorayi of Partnership for Transforming Health Systems, PATHS 2 further consolidated the need for the national health act to be respected, adding that it was saddening that lives are being lost on a daily basis due to the health sector not being well funded.
“We have a national health act that is so comprehensive, we want it to be followed, we want all of us to be sure that children and even men do not continue to die, we are saying enough is enough and we know what works, we know the solution, they are all in the national health act, implementing it will take Nigeria to better level in health,” Dorayi noted.